A long time ago, in a producer’s meeting far far away, idiots sat down and thought that they should create a show about fairy tales. Sure, everyone loves a good princess story, but is it truly the basis of an award winning TV show? Short answer — No. Long answer — Nope. BU T, I will say that, while not great, this series will prove to fill my life with something it has been missing since Glee became so popular — a guilty pleasure. I do not want my friends to know I watch this, but since it is actually well written, has an original concept and is just dark enough to be targeted to adults, I will tune in every week. It never ceases to amaze me how people can come up with such strange and exciting story ideas for new shows.
How does one convince a TV executive to pay for this? Well, first, let it not be just a fairy tale. Instead, take all the characters you loved as kids (Rumpelstiltskin, Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket, etc.) and jam them all together in present day Maine…Storybrooke, Maine to be exact. Let them exist there, say…trapped in time…because of some curse or whatever. Throw in a convoluted story about a wardrobe and an evil witch and an orphan baby, then another orphan baby and BOOM — Once Upon a Time.
Okay, so the story is done, but that cannot be the only selling point. No. Really, the plot you have constructed for this pilot cannot stand alone as a successful series. Ah, you have decided that the costumes you wear in all the flashbacks will be so fuckin’ amazing and haute couture that it will blow the minds of anyone watching. Well played, creators…well payed. Seriously though, I want that cape the Evil Witch wears. And I also want to eat apples that are so blood red and so shiny that they clearly look like movie props.
Story + Costumes is only part of the battle. While pitching this idea, you need some strong talent to carry this train wreck. I imagine while talking to studio executives about this series the creator was proud to have cast such memorable actors as:
1) One of the wives from Big Love! (Ginnifer Goodwin)
2) That lady doctor from House, you know, when that show didn’t suck (Jennifer Morrison)
3) That Mexican looking lady from 24 who was kind of a bitch (Lana Parrilla)
4) You know, the boss guy in Breaking Bad (Giancarlo Esposito)
5) The evil Full Monty guy from Star Gate: Universe…now there was a good show (Robert Carlyle)
6) OH, what’s his name…you know, he has been in every Law and Order…(Raphael Sbarge)
7) Pam from True Blood (Kristin Bauer van Straten)
Oh yes, dear reader, with such a cast, how can the show fail!?!
So, with everything in order and a 9 series commitment from ABC, here you have it — the first episode of the first season of a show about story book characters trapped in time trying to be free with the help of a lonely stranger who is also Snow White’s daughter. It could not be simpler!!
Sometimes I wish I was not so jaded so that I could sit back and enjoy what should be a creative and modern retelling of my favorite childhood stories. Yes, I love fantasy and fiction and magic — it is like Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings with a splash of Shrek and a dabble of Toy Story. All that is missing is a few choice Disney-esque musical numbers, and I might just lose bowel control with sheer joy. This is a show, that while fun, is too outlandish to be considered adult or mature, like Dollhouse or Stargate: Universe. Because the characters are from children’s books, it will be impossible for my mind to think of this show as anything but childish. But I will still watch it every week, but if anyone asks me about it, I will deny.